Quick Hits

This is going to be quick and dirty.

As anyone who watched the live blog game videos can attest, I need my beauty sleep.

Your Montreal Canadiens have completed their season home-and-away against the 30th best hockey team in a 30-team league.

Edmonton won both games.

The Canadiens have lost:

• Five of their last six – including Ls to the Islanders, Sabres and Oilers

• Ground in the standings to the Bruins and Rangers

• The defenceman who resuscitated their power play.

James Wisniewski was hit by a shot halfway through the first peiod. He did not return, was hospitalized and may not join his teammates on the trip to Calgary. He posted that gruesome pic to Facebook.

Wiz joins Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges, Hal Gill and Jaro Spacek on the injured list.

It is less hazardous to defuse bombs in Kabul than to play defence for the Montreal Canadiens.

Wisniewski’s injury meant Alexandre Picard had to play more than 23 minutes and Yannick Weber almost 28.

P.K. Subban, who logged 29:22 against the Sabres Tuesday night, played 29:29 – including 2:23 of the four minutes the Canadiens were shorthanded –  in Edmonton. He looked gassed by the end of the game.

Brendon Nash, who isn’t ready for the NHL, played 8:30 and was on for the Ryan Jones goal that broke the Canadiens’ backs.

Carey Price was not great on the two goals that beat him within 15 seconds in the third period.

But tabarnac, Price has played more minutes than any goaltender in the league. He’s faced more shots than anyone except Cam Ward.

In a first period dominated by the Oilers, Price kept the score to 1-0. And he was solid after the brief lapse that gave Edmonton the lead.

So no CP-bashing … or I’ll put that dog who was in the videos on your miserable, second-guessing ass.

Nor can you fault the effort of the Canadiens.

After sucking for most of the first 20 minutes, they outshot the Oilers 17-8 in the second period. But just as 18 shots produced one goal against Buffalo, the bombardment yielded only the Jeff Halpern goal that made it 1-1 … and that came off a schmozzle in Nikolai Khabibulin’s crease.

The Canadiens fired 37 Sog at the vintage Bulin Wall– plus 15 that missed the net and 21 that were wide. Comparable stats for the Oilers were 28-19-10.

Jacques Martin shortened his bench – Mathieu Darche played all of eight shifts, David Desharnais and Ryan White saw limited action in the third period. But despite more ice time and some decent chances, the scorers couldn’t score against a very ordinary Edmonton D.

On paper, this was the easiest game of the trip.

But west of Ottawa, nothing is easy.

More tomorrow.

•  •  •

Some glass-half-full Commentary from Hockey Socks:

I, for one, am proud of the team’s effort tonight. No passengers. How can you keep winning when 5 of your top 6 defensemen and elite sniper are injured? How can you keep winning when your best defenseman left is a 36-year-old who is logging 25 to 30 minutes/game? As good as Subban is, he’s still a rookie and its noticeable at least once or twice a game.

I commend the effort level but lets face reality. This team is no longer equipped to make a meaningful playoff run and do more than stumble down the stretch and pray the bleeding stops.

Gomez cares and you can see it when he gets frustrated and forces a play. You can criticize him for his production, but never his effort. Same goes for nearly every player on the team.

It makes me wonder… with all this trade talk – is it even worth it? Why trade assets for short-term fixes? I know management has an obligation to make every effort to win – especially in a city like Montreal – but is riding it out and reloading for next season such a bad idea?

50 Comments

  1. Displaced says:

    Yep, it’s hard to win games at this level against ANY team when you can’t ice the team you built. 

    Ask defenseless Vancouver fans how it feels to lose three of five, including one last night to a team that started 15 points behind them.  Ask Pittsburgh fans how much it sucks to lose Sid and Malkin.  Or Boston fans (ok, you don’t have to actually speak to them) what life would be like if Savard weren’t concussed.  Or fans in Colorado or St. Louis, or… well, you get the idea.

    Missing Markov, Cammi, Gorges, Gomez, and Kostitsyn for long stretches (did you like the shots at Scotty and AK?  yeah, I didn’t think so) are legitimate reasons to struggle.  And, it’s nice to see what the kids can do and watch them develop.  It softens the blow to our current psyche and gives us hope for the future.

    Sadly, Arch Bishop Bettman can’t turn losses into wins, even if we say our Hail Gregson’s – although it might help with some fishy calls…

    To paraphrase Arpon, this ain’t our year. Yeh, we’ll make the playoffs and with some luck ride Carey and a hot scoring streak to a series win or two.  For now, watch the foundation of this team mature and enjoy the big Price rebound (year) and his scintillating saves, PK’s Savardian spineramas, cannonading shots from the Wiz (when he returns), Patches playing power forward like a young John Leclair (er, we’ll hold onto this one, unless him becomes Chris Higgins).  Whitney Houston’s, “I believe the children are our future” is playing in my head, so I better wrap this up.  Go Habs!!!

     

     

    Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  2. habs001 says:

    we just dont have the forwards even if all of them are healthy to be even a top 15 scoring team…

  3. claude says:

    Now on to Hockey ,well it is what it is. This situation can only help improve a group of young up and comers to the NHL. Although things don,t bod well for the Habs,in the end the team will benefit a whole lot by theses young guns getting their feet wet. As for the playoffs, we are in tough,but that being said this team is slowly building a layer of sandpaper to its game. Sometimes going through,what the blue,blanc et rouge are experiencing,has to happen to get a whole team to that next level.

    Hope for success at the outdoor game,and it should be fun to watch.

    Claude

  4. claude says:

    Although i understand our Defense is decimated, using the reference more to” It is less hazardous to defuse bombs in Kabul than to play defence for the Montreal Canadiens ” is a bit insenstive towards are serving men and women of the armed forces. I would hope a retraction is made for making this statement. I love my Canadiens and i am passionate,but let,s not blurr the line between a game of very well paid individuals who are inssentially having fun doing what their doing, to a person who puts their life on the line daily for alot less coin.

  5. mjames says:

    Enough with all this team analysis. The real reason why  we lost this game is because of AK46 . He was directly or indirectly responsible for all 4 of the Oilers goals. If he had not played we would have easily won this game. As a matter of fact Gomez would be having a career year if not for AK46. The same can be said for Pleks, Gionta and Cammy who would all be over 30 goals by now. Price’s GAA would be less than 2 if not for AK46. If PG were smart he would trade AK46 to Nashville for one of their pending UFA ( a Moen type player) . If he can’t get an UFA then maybe a 12th round draft choice.

    I am surprised Boone did not point to the real reason why we lost this game  —–AK46

    mjames

  6. HotHabs says:

    Good effort, but honestly the Habs cannot and should not lose to bottom dwelling teams like the Oilers.  How depressing!

    Gomez, Eller, PK, Hammer worked really hard all game.

    Price was hot for over 59 minutes, but that second goal will give him nightmares tonight – he cheated a little and leaned away from his post.

    With Mtl’s broken down D corps, it will take a miracle to pull off a win vs. a streaking Flames team on Sunday.  Let’s not even talk about Vancouver.

    Good night all!

     

  7. VancouverHab says:

    Did I just read Mr. Boone featuring a commentor who praised the effort & sinceity of Scott Gomez?

    I’ll die happy.

  8. Chuck says:

    Man, that looks like a morgue photo…

  9. Habnofear says:

    The question is will you die happy after the Heritage  game and  or the Nucks game? I will say this bout you though  ….the Habs could lose every game for infinity and you don’t care,which is cool.

  10. mbplekfan says:

    We have great scorers on this team. The problem is JM doesnt want them to score. He wants them to keep the other team from scoring.

    An over-reliance on defence is costing the habs wins and keeping our scorers from scoring. The habs rarely have all 3 forwards deep in the offensive zone. Instead one is almost always high in the slot ready to defend the neutral zone at a moments notice. The defending team has two defenceman and one center trying to get the puck back. 3 on 2 manpower and guess who wins?

    No sustained offensive pressure is generated and few goals result.

  11. G-Man says:

    Yeah, lots of fruitless effort against the worst team in the the league. Pleks wasn’t to be seen the 1st 2 periods and has been less and less visible of late. So, how does everyone like Gill and Spacek now? And, yes, Boone, Price was outplayed again. IDGAS how many games or minutes played, that has been happening a lot lately when the Habs should be solidifying a playoff spot and not throwing away opportunities.

  12. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    The difference between a middle of the pack team and a bottom feeder is a few players. Try Markov, Gorges, Cammy and Gill. These aren’t fourth line injuries, and compensating is wearing the others down.

    I still like the team that has been assembled. I think Price is overworked, but that Subban is getting training that you can never replace. Long-term, it looks good. Short term, it’s a wee bit ugly.

  13. Shiloh says:

    Just a further clarification on the number 0.912. It is the average of the averages of the goalies in the NHL – or the mean of a mean. You then use it to state a median. We don’t know whether all factors in establishing the original mean are significant. Were there any goalies who played a few mop-up minutes and brought home a 0.995 or even 1.000? Were there any 3rd or 4th string goalies pressed into action who let in 3 goals in 4 shots and then returned to the minors for good – is their 0.250 significant?

    Once you are satisfied that the original mean is significant, what is the median of the generating group – and what is the mode of evaluation? Is the standard deviation within acceptable norms? Is the final measurement (a median based upon averaging averages) valid as a guideline of generally “good” production? That’s when you’d have to consider some of the other factors I mentioned above.

    It’s kind of like the E.R.A. in baseball. You’re an MLB pitcher. If you’ve got a great catcher, Alomar at 2nd and Devon White playing centre then you’ve got a great start. Throw in a Mariano Duncan to strand your runners and you should have an excellent E.R.A. as long as you pitch decently enough to stay in the game – which is helped if your team is piling up a few runs for you. Statistics are only part of the story.

  14. Shiloh says:

    I spent quite a few decades teaching Math, Andrew, so let’s just say that I don’t buy your statistical analysis. You have averaged averages to arrive at 0.912. That is problematic in and of itself if you want that statistic to show quality of play. You should probably also look at the quality of the shots (distance, screening, odd-man rushes…) and the frequency of GA late in periods or in the 3rd period or when a game is tied or with a one-goal differential. You should also understand that 0.912 would be the percentage of a goalie for a team on the cusp of the playoffs – so is that a sign of a good year? Maybe – but a goalie could post 0.896 and play 60 games for a first-place team. Or, a goalie could post 0.943 and miss the playoffs.

    It’s clear that Price is having a better year – and Halak is not my buddy. I just loved the fact that he forced them to play him, even when the sons-of-bitches couldn’t bring themselves to admit he was playing the best. Habs management was acting like the Bush administration with WMD – they couldn’t admit that they were wrong. Meanwhile Halak was outplaying their chosen one. They even went out and brought in Alex Auld this year so that it would never happen again. And maybe it’s working – who knows?

  15. Shiloh says:

    No – he’s saved our bacon this year. He’s been “on” for long stretches and maybe only had a couple of very short spells where he fights it a bit. He has been able to bounce back to top form quickly – and it wouldn’t surprise me if he stoned Calgary and Vancouver – which would be quite a feat with our defense so depleted.

  16. andrewberkshire says:

    The average save % in the NHL last year was .912. That was Price’s save percentage. This isn’t grasping for some weak statistic, this is the #1 statistic for evaluation of goaltenders. The reason you and many others are so insistent that Price was horrible is in fact because Halak was so good. I don’t downlplay that Halak was the team’s MVP last year, however I do think it’s ridiculous when people say he single handedly won two rounds, because he did not. He was spectacular in his 4 wins against Washington, but his play against Pittsburgh was just very good. Cammalleri was a bigger factor to the second series win.

    As far as good seasons go however, Price is having a better one this year than Halak did, and the reason for it is simply consistency. Halak has always been a hot and cold goaltender, either brilliant or terrible. We saw that in the playoffs, and we’re seeing it again this year, only this time he’s been forced to play more games than he can handle.

    The reason I attack you over the “on his knees” BS is because Carey Price isn’t a pure butterfly goaltender, and he actually stands up on plays more often than almost any goaltender in the NHL right now, excluding Martin Brodeur. You had the same complaint last year, even though your buddy Halak spends much more time on his knees than Price does because of the style he plays. Because of this, yes, I call you irrational and say you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to goaltending.

     

  17. Propwash says:

    Can you name a goalie currently in the league that could do better considering the circumstances?

  18. Shiloh says:

    Andrew, Andrew, Andrew. If you think that Price’s play last year was anything but poor, then you are the one who’s being irrational. You’ve dragged out that “average” statistic before. Coming into tonight Price has the 14th best save percentage among NHL goalies – average, right? I don’t think so. He has been awesome this year. His play has been better than last year by leaps and bounds. But we can pluck any given statistic to show that he’s been average both years.

    Halak had a wonderful year last year, notwithstanding that you find time often to downplay his contribution. He saved the season – but Gauthier kept Price instead, which may turn out to be right. I hope so, as all Habs fans should. But I want Price to be the best – and if he stays with the true butterfly with his legs angled as the play comes to him – and not on his knees before they’ve made a move – then he’ll be close to unbeatable.

  19. Propwash says:

    AFAIK, almost all goalies in the NHL are butterfly goalies. You look at any goaltender in the league and you’ll see the same style, they go to their knees at the drop of a dime, it’s how goaltending evolved in the league. Why do you think top shelf is where players like to shoot at? It’s because down low, the net is pretty much covered given the padding that is out there. It’s all a matter of perspective.

  20. andrewberkshire says:

    “This site is incapable of processing Price’s play in any detached manner whatsoever. They lavished praise on him the last two years when he was one of the worst in the league”

    You see, this is where you reveal yourself. Not as a rational person commenting on a play that just happened, but an irrational hater of Carey Price. Last year Carey Price recorded a save percentage that was the league average, this while he got most of the starts against playoff teams while Halak got starts against the bottom feeders for the first 50 games. That is in no way one of the worst in the league, yet you attest it is because that’s the only way you can argue.

    When you start a comment with that kind of ludicrous premise, the response you’re going to get will ALWAYS be the direct opposite. If you would be rational for 5 seconds and comment based on the facts at hand, instead of making things up to try to prove a non-existant point, people wouldn’t be so harsh in replying to your comments.

  21. Shiloh says:

    But that’s not really the case – a lot of people are NOT going to dare to say a word about Price unless it’s gushing praise. I comment often – probably 50 or so a week – and many draw no response at all. But – if I dare to say that Price went down too early I am attacked viciously. I am given goalie lessons by Andrew the all-knowing, I am called every name in the book by Joey, the Carey-lover extraordinaire. The same old shit – just people who think they know something but clearly are unable to process for one nanosecond that their god can whiff at a puck from time to time. This site is incapable of processing Price’s play in any detached manner whatsoever. They lavished praise on him the last two years when he was one of the worst in the league – and it’s no different this year when he’s been one of the best. It’s a love-in for the guy no matter how he plays, so how can it have any meaning? And how can they be taken seriously?

    Price definitely has a tough time when he hits his knees too early in the play. It’s obvious if you pay attention. Since I’ve watched probably 90% of the Habs games since Price came up, I feel qualified to say it. When he doesn’t hit the knees too early he’s almost unbeatable – I feel qualified to say that as well. But I will not go all Cinderella kissy-ass over the guy.  

  22. Shiloh says:

    One addition – a Travis Moen type who could pop 12-15 a year. That team could actually win it all.

  23. andrewberkshire says:

    What Horcoff did was gutless, even more gutless that he turtled after. Although I loved Benny’s reaction. He’s been very good this year despite almost no PP time and limited ES time. I would really love to see what this team could do with a healthy Markov, Gorges and Wiz in the lineup.

  24. Shiloh says:

    We can agree to disagree on Price being good last year, but I am with you on Cammy. I’m also starting to think that our management is going to have to go a bit bananas on the officiating – even if it means a big fine. We almost lost Benny late tonight to a dirty crosscheck (and the replay suggests Benny did not embellish the hit) and no penalty was called. Our players have to be protected.

  25. andrewberkshire says:

    edit: I don’t see where I called you a liar, I said you were exaggerating (or the opposite of exaggerating).

    As I said in reply to your comment below; “He was not good at all the last couple of years” while less strong than what your wrote earlier, is patently false. That’s your opinion based on, well I’m not sure what because the stats say otherwise.

    As for doing damage this year, it really depends on if the defensemen can get healthy. Cammalleri coming back is a big bonus, but the black hole that is Scott Gomez seems to be dragging our scoring depth down big time. Would almost be better to put Cammalleri with DD and Pouliot.

  26. Shiloh says:

    Why do you insist upon calling me a liar, Andrew? I have called Price for flopping maybe three or four times this year – that’s it. Tonight was one of them. 

    There is no Carey-hate from this quarter, irrational or otherwise. He was not good at all the last couple of years, but he’s been very good to excellent this year. He could end up being the best in the game – but even the best have a bad game or period or shift. I’m glad we have him – this year.

    But after tonight, I wonder if we have the horses to do any damage at all if we make the post-season. Even Pleks and Gionta looked ordinary.

  27. andrewberkshire says:

    3 or 4? Come on. Hyperbole and a half is a blog, not a lifestyle.

    If you want to pretend that you’re not still nurturing your irrational Carey hate, fine.

  28. Shiloh says:

    Absolute bullshit – and you know it. I have called him on maybe three or four goals this year. And – I wasn’t crazy about the posing after the win – but maybe that is because I’m old.

  29. Chuck says:

    I’d take 8th place. Bring on the first place team; if you go down, at least it’s to the best, and it gives you a better guage of were your team stands and what adjustments need to be made in the off-season.

    And then there’s always the prospect of an underdog upset…  ;)

  30. PeterD says:

    Seems every day we talk about and lament the loss and our two best defencemen – Markov and Gorges and that somehow that provides some solice for why the team is not winning or how the team shows such spunk and character game in and game out.  But really, we should not be bringing up the loss of these two great players as an excuse for current or future team performance…they are gone for the season and no lamenting or head hanging will bring them back.  So we need to move on as if they are not part of this team – because for all intents and purposes they are not.

    Cammi, Gill, Spatches and Wizi will return soon I hope.  But even they will not fix what is wrong with this team right now.  We do not have goal scoring finishers on this team.  This comment may or probably will alienate some on HIO, but seriously, how does a team get so many shots game in and game out and not put some in the net.  The answer is very clear, we have skilled, fast skating players but they lack the natural goal scoring creativity that puts goals in the net.

    I for one am very concerned with our near term future.  We can play team defense better than most teams in the league, but we need some offensive finishers.  Without that we are unable to beat the Oilers, Islanders, and Sabres…how do we think we will do against the elite teams that make the long run into the palyoffs.

    I have been a real Gomez, AK basher all season, but tonight and the last few games they have been putting in the effort and show they care and are trying…But, trying and caring and putting in effort is not scoring goals and winning close games.

    Pierre Gauthier needs to be looking right now towards what this team will look like and how they will perform going forward over the rest of this season and for the next two to three years and if he is willing to be bold, he should make some trades now that increase our offensive finish around the net.  Questions he needs to be asking now are… Does he have scoring talent in the system that can make the jump next year?  Can he find a scoring gem before the trade deadline this year?  How much is he willing to pay for that talent if he finds a willing partner? 

    That is one very tough job he has…and again, good luck with that Pierre.  Right now, my bias is overpay if you have too for that scoring forward who can finish around the net consistently.

  31. habs001 says:

    we have not scored for 2 years yet people on this site think we have to scoring talent but we are the unluckiest team in the nhl…but fans of all teams over rate their players…

  32. andrewberkshire says:

    The problem with Gomez this year is that even on nights when he looks like he cares (which is about half the time), he rarely produces anything. It’s as frustrating for him as it is for fans I’m sure, but its getting to be too much to take. Every winger who plays with him sucks the big one, and it’s been almost 60 games of it.

  33. Fargo Habs Fan says:

    Losing is infuriating, but when we have 2 or 3 NHL ready defensemen, it’s hard to expect better.  Gomez and AK looked like they cared tonight, so at least that’s a start.  I’m just so freaking sick of this team making every opposing ‘tender look like a first ballot HoFer.  Hate the outcome, but encouraged by the heart.

    -Dustin-

  34. Habnofear says:

    Man o man,it looks like A BIG RED BRICK CHIMINEY fell on the Wiz and he See’s ToTo.Best wishes too you my Habs brother and get well soon.

  35. jew4jah says:

    do you thing henry will get the call up?

  36. Ian Cobb says:

    5 of 7 defence men from our roster are in sick bay. With only the Hammer and PK left holding the bag. Tough sledding for a while.

    This is a great opportunity for the kids to get some experience at this level.

    We are going to be positioned just fine come April 9th boys and girls.

  37. andrewberkshire says:

    There’s a large difference between saying Price is weak on a goal, and waiting in the wings to critique every goal against, which is what you do.

  38. Shiloh says:

    I agree we shouldn’t bash Price – he’s been our best player by far this year. But we can point out when he’s off on a couple of goals. That shouldn’t bring down the wrath of the pimply-faced Price adorers.

  39. Propwash says:

    Alot of people are going to bash Price, it’s a given, heck, I’m a supporter of him and still said he pretty much sucked on the two goals scored on him. However, I also acknowledge the fact that the defence on the team has been absolutely decimated this year, and he can only do so much.

    That being said, I’ve noticed you chiming in only when bad things happen, which in turn will lead to people going to his defence sometimes in an impolite fashion.

  40. JIMVINNY says:

    I’ll agree that you should be able to point out when he’s let in a couple of softies, but your method of blaming every bad goal on the idea that he is always going down early is what nets you so much backlash.  He’s a butterfly goalie.  Butterfly goalies drop to their knees.   Simple as that.

  41. SHUTTemDOWN says:

    As long as its not the eight spot…it’ll be short and SOUR

    “The sh*t is CHESS!NOT CHECKERS.” Denzel W.(Training Day)

  42. Sheldon says:

    This thing is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s where we end up that matters. Get to the playoffs healthy and with some mo and who knows? If a roster with eight rookies can win a Cup in ’86, anything is possible.

  43. Rainrocket16 says:

    Thats right! Were never supposed to win our last 2 Cups….But we did!!

  44. SHUTTemDOWN says:

    Testy bunch tonight.

    Perhaps the frustration is spilling over…hopefully heads will be cooler come Sunday, then again the Flames are bringing the heat.

    As for tonight:1-hot goalie 2-very quick goals 3- # of D Edmonton was down(which compounds the pain) 4-pontential losing streak after this road trip 5-our depleted D

    All that being said….goals would be nice.There’s got to be a reason Gomerz can get in clean and not hit the net.

     Oh the FUTILITY!

    “The sh*t is CHESS!NOT CHECKERS.” Denzel W.(Training Day)

     

  45. darcy1 says:

    lol…  i throughly enjoy the <sarcasm> & </sarcsm> tags…

    ——————-
    ”If you’ve only got one day to live, come see the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’ll seem like forever. ” Pat Foley (Blackhawks broadcaster)

  46. HardHabits says:

    <sarcasm>Let’s go all in baby. Trade everybody on the farm and all the prospects for that big D and power forward.</sarcasm>

  47. Just A Guy says:

    Absolutely, he’s up there with Gomez in the smug factor, he’s done his thing, won a cup and now he’s just living his life, I think he does a ton of charity work down in Tampa, if not at least some. I think Gomez didnt want to leave NY while on the subject. The guy is a natural New Yorker.

    edit: it may have read that I would have been in favor of that trade, I just couldn’t make the point about building the team around Price when Gainey was aparently ready to trade him.

    re edit: god damn that picture is ugly.

    “Tell him he’s Wayne Gretzky.” – Oilers coach Ted Green, after Shaun Van Allen suffered a concussion and couldn’t remember who he was.

  48. SeriousFan09 says:

    I’m glad we don’t have Lecavalier, he has All-star pay when he’s had just two seasons performing at that level and that contract ends in 2021. Increasingly fragile as well.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  49. Just A Guy says:

    No point in bashing Price, he is the franchise. Everyone keeps wondering why with all the apparent offensive talent the habs have Gainey brought in a man like JM with a defense first, second, third mentality. Just remember who it is we have in the back of the nets. Even Subban is more expendable…

    …now that we can’t get Lecavalier. No wonder Bob was so pissed about that story leaking.

    “Tell him he’s Wayne Gretzky.” – Oilers coach Ted Green, after Shaun Van Allen suffered a concussion and couldn’t remember who he was.

  50. Shiloh says:

    Butterfly goalies do indeed go to their knees – but not a near-vertical church kneel, they sort of splay their feet outwards. Regardless, Price has been burned a few (very few) times this year by dropping too soon. Tonight it happened – but he could be due for a monster couple of games. I think we’ll get at least 3-points out of Calgary and Vancouver.


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